What Happens to Your Pell Grant When You Change Schools?

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    Between School Years

    • When you change school between school years, you don't have to do anything out of the ordinary. Just fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as you do between every school year. When your new school receives the application, it will process it and determine your financial aid award, including the Pell Grant. Your new school will let you know what your award is before the school year begins.

    Within School Year

    • When you transfer to another school mid-year, you need to update your FAFSA to include the new school on it. When the new school receives your financial aid information, it will calculate your award. Your Pell Grant award at the new school is limited to the maximum annual award minus the amount you received so far this school year at your old school.

    Change in Award

    • The main reason your Pell Grant award would change in a mid-year transfer is if the cost to attend your new school is different from the cost to attend your old school. The sum of all your financial aid can never exceed your cost of attendance. Therefore, if one school is very inexpensive, you might not receive the full amount of the Pell Grant that you would at a more expensive school. If you change schools between school years, your Pell Grant award could change because your family's income and assets changed. The award is based mostly on the amount the federal formulas determine your family can afford to spend on college each year.

    Other Financial Aid

    • Your Pell Grant is likely not the only type of financial aid that you will have to think about when you change schools. The federal government offers other grants and loans that you will have to transfer to your new school. Thankfully, entering the school code on the FAFSA is all you have to do for those as well. If you were receiving any state or institutional aid at your old school, do not count on receiving these at your new school. Your financial aid award will depend on the state and school resources when you apply and the difference between the amount of money and aid you already have and the cost of attending school.

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